Diesel’s deliberately controversial ad campaign has been banned by
the Advertising Standards Authority, following 83 complaints from the
However, the ASA has cleared a Start-Rite Shoes ad despite 25 complaints
that it had sexual overtones and was tasteless.
The Diesel campaign, which is Lowe Howard-Spink’s first work since being
appointed to the business in January, featured young women as denim-clad
nuns, the Virgin Mary in jeans and a serial killer dismembering
The ads, which ran in the style press, posters and on London
Underground, were designed to be tongue-in-cheek visual puns and were
not intended to be taken seriously, Diesel maintained. The serial killer
ad used the phrase ’Our workwear suits labourers, clubbers, murderers or
anyone else who needs lots of odd shaped pockets’.
The ASA judged that even if the dismemberment was meant to be ironic, it
was unacceptable and likely to cause serious offence.
The Start-Rite ad, featuring Julian Clary holding a little girl’s sandal
and crying because he could not wear the shoe, was deemed
The complainants had objected to the image of a homosexual holding a
child’s shoe. The ASA decided the ad would not be interpreted as the